Despite Florida’s reputation as a tolerant firearm law state, Unlawful possession of any weapon or firearm in Florida are considered very serious and are prosecuted aggressively.
Weapon Offense Charges
Common Weapon Related Offenses:
- Carrying a Concealed Firearm (CCF)
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
- Possession or Discharge of a Destructive Device
Carrying a concealed Weapon is classified as a 1st Degree Misdemeanor and a judge can sentence you to up to 12 months in jail, up to 12 months of probation and up to $1,000.00 in fines.
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon is also classified as a 1st Degree Misdemeanor.
Penalties for Weapon Offenses
Essentially every other type of Weapon charge is a Felony and are punishable by Prison, Probation, Community Control, Forfeiture of the Weapon, Loss of Weapons Permit, Loss of Civil Rights and Heavy Fines. Depending on what type of weapon, where it is found and your status as a felon you could be facing minimum mandatory prison sentences. These minimum mandatory penalties can be 10 years, 20 years, 25 years or life in prison. These minimum mandatory penalties come from Florida’s 10-20-Life law.
The 10-20-Life law was developed to punish firearm offenses severely. If you possessed a firearm during the commission of a felony, you are facing a minimum of 10 years prison. If the firearm was discharged during the commission of a felony, the minimum sentence is 20 years. If another person was injured by the firearm during the commission of a felony the minimum is 25 years up to Life in Prison.
Defenses for Weapon Offense
Valid Concealed Weapons Permit
You may not be charged or convicted in Florida for Carrying a Concealed Weapon if you have in your possession, a valid Concealed Weapons Permit. These permits are issued by The State Department of Agriculture. As long as you have the Permit with you at the time you are carrying a weapon, you are protected.
However, just because you have a Concealed Weapon Permit from Florida, does not mean you are protected in other states. The same goes for out of state Concealed Weapon Permit Carriers, Florida may not offer reciprocity with the licensing state.
Further, certain places strictly prohibit weapons from the premises; this goes even if you possess a valid Concealed Weapons Permit. Be sure to learn the rules and policies of certain places before you enter while Carrying a Concealed Weapon there.
Self Defense Products
There are certain non-lethal weapons that are permissible to carry without a license. As long as the item is recognized as a lawful self-defense product, you have a valid defense to Carrying a Concealed Weapon. Examples of such products are Self-Defense Chemical Spray or a nonlethal stun gun or dart firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.
It is permissible to carry a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife in a concealed manner, as they are not considered “weapons” under Florida law. Whether a knife is considered a “common pocketknife” will be determined on a case-by-case basis. This determination will depend on how large the blade, how the knife is exposed (spring loaded blade vs. fold out action) and other characteristics of the blade and handle.
- Weapon in your own home or business
- A person may lawfully carry a concealed firearm around their home or “Place of Business”. A Place of Business includes a place where a person is employed.
- Vehicle Exception to Permit Requirement
If you do not have a valid weapons permit, and you have a firearm in your car you can be charged with carrying a concealed firearm. If however you have met the exception listed under Florida Law, you can not be prosecuted. The test that courts use is whether the firearm was “securely encased and otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use”. This rule is otherwise known as the 2 step rule. If the firearm is 1) in a holster and 2) in a glove box, then those 2 steps prevent the firearm from immediate use. There are dozens of potential permutations of that rule but it is usually a 2 step process.
Contact a Broward County Weapon Defense Attorney
If you are charged with a weapon crime in Broward County Contact Weapon Crimes Defense Attorney Grant Schwarz immediately at 954-620-8320. The earlier you contact a Broward Criminal Defense Lawyer the better. Call Grant Schwarz to start telling your side of the story. Call our office for a free consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends and holidays. We guarantee you will speak to a lawyer today.